An investigation into the crash of a Snowbirds Tutor jet that killed Capt. Jenn Casey last year has confirmed the plane lost power after a bird strike.
The report on the investigation into the May 17, 2020 crash in Kamloops was released today (March 29, 2021). The Snowbirds had visited the city as part of a cross-country tour to lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Capt. Richard MacDougall, the pilot, and Capt. Casey, the Snowbirds’ public information officer, ejected but Casey did not survive.
Here’s today’s statement from the Royal Canadian Air Force:
The accident involved a CT114 Tutor aircraft from the Canadian Armed Forces Air Demonstration Team (Snowbirds) enroute to Comox, BC to reposition in support of Op INSPIRATION. The aircraft was number two of a formation of two Tutor aircraft.
Following the take-off, a loud, impact-like sound was heard by both occupants and the aircraft then experienced a loss of thrust. The pilot initiated a climb straight ahead and then elected to carry out a left-hand turn back towards the airport.
The manoeuvre resulted in an aerodynamic stall halfway through the turn before the pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft. Both occupants subsequently ejected and the aircraft was destroyed upon impact in a residential area.
The passenger was fatally injured and the pilot received serious injuries. Evidence gathered during the investigation revealed that both occupants’ ejection sequences were outside of the ejection envelope.
DNA evidence collected from the engine’s internal components confirmed the ingestion of a bird as witnessed from video evidence; however, the damage it caused was insufficient to cause a catastrophic failure. Rather, it resulted in a compressor stall that was never cleared.
The investigation recommends a directive be published which outlines the aircrew’s priority where an emergency during the take-off or landing phase occurs and has the potential to result in an ejection near or over a populated area.
The investigation also recommends further training on engine-related emergencies be practiced in the takeoff/low-level environment. It is also recommended that the practice of storing items between the ejection seat and the airframe wall cease immediately.
Finally, further research is recommended into the potential options that would stabilize the CT114 ejection seat from any tendency to pitch, roll or yaw immediately following its departure from the ejection seat rails.